How Recruiting Reminds Me of My Dating Days…

How Recruiting Reminds Me of My Dating Days…
by Christina Tamm
san francisco recruiting.jpeg

I’ve been a tech recruiter in San Francisco for more than 6 years. Prior to meeting my husband, I spent a lot of time, let’s say roughly 5 years, dating. Why do I mention that personal fact? (And why should you care?) Because there is a strong correlation between dating and recruiting. Both of which I have done simultaneously and took (still take for recruiting) very seriously. When I think about the parallels between dating and recruiting, my clients are looking for partners too. And we all know (especially in the tech sector) that colleagues spend more time together — often 9-to-10 hour days each workweek. It’s just as imperative for me to get the right fit for my client and candidates — as it was for me to swipe left or right before going out on a date. So how do I do it?

There are so many possible comparisons when it comes to recruiting and dating. I thought it would be fun to break it all down and give you a bit of a laugh (or inspiration if you are venturing out into the dating world!). For the purpose of this article, we will consider all people being considered as a candidate or a potential partner as a “prospect”

Step #1: Sourcing a Prospect


Option #1: Sift through profiles on LinkedIn

Option #2: Attend a Meet-Up or Event


Option #1: Swipe right or left on a dating app

Option #2: Go to the bar or out with friends

The comparison:

Option #1: As a Recruiter, I spend a great deal of my time sourcing (or for those not in the industry, searching for candidates that fit the job opportunities and companies I am supporting). The main way to source is to sift through profiles on LinkedIn. When on a prospect’s profile, I can save them to my search or hide them from my search. Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like swiping yes or no on, say, Tinder?

Assessing the prospect by their profile in…

Recruiting: do they have the technical abilities? Yes? Save to my search and send an email, No? Hide from Search and ignore.

Dating: Do they meet my expectations? Yes, Swipe Right if we matched send a note, No Swipe Left and ignore.

Option #2: The harder option and the one that makes you break out of your comfort zone: Going out to an event and trying to meet a potential “prospect”. Just like dating, as a recruiter, it can be somewhat awkward going to an event (typically alone as a recruiter, or maybe with a friend — “wing woman?” in dating) to try and find a prospect. But, it’s the best way to find a potential prospect in both dating and recruiting. It’s so much easier to get to know the real prospect than judging them at first handoff of their profile (Tinder or LinkedIn). You’ve just got to figure out how to break the ice and talk to people.

Step #2 Screening a Prospect:

Recruiting: The screening process for Recruiting tends to consist of a couple of email exchanges about the opportunity you contacted the prospect about, scheduling a phone call to talk in further detail, and collecting their resume.

Dating: Lots and Lots of texting. For the few that might be a little old school, there might be a phone call or two.

In the screening process, you get to know the prospect on a higher level to assess if they are worthy of being considered as your “potential prospect.”

The conversations can be fairly similar, however, with Dating. (Although dating conversations are hopefully more two-way with your date asking about you as well!) With a lot of Recruiting, it begins with one-sided conversations with the recruiter getting to know the prospect in detail. But the GREAT recruiters out there forge two-sided conversations to build trust, rapport, and hopefully life-long relationships with their prospects. This allows the recruiter to understand the prospect’s questions, needs, qualifications, ideal corporate cultural fit to benefit the prospect AND the client. (Hint: look for these GREAT recruiters!).

Step #3: The Submission

Recruiting: If the prospect is interested in the company, after screening the prospect and assessing the conversations you have had, you either decide to submit their profile to your hiring manager or move on to the next prospect.

Dating: After screening the prospect and assessing the conversations you have had you either decide to continue to talk to them and go on an actual date, or you reject them and move on to the next prospect.

Note: In both scenarios, there is typically always more than one prospect in the works ;P

Step #4: The Assessments

Date #1: Dating: Coffee, or Drinks Date

Recruiting: The First Phone Interview

Date #2: Dinner or Movie Date

Recruiting: Technical Interview

Date #3: Dinner and Assessing Potential (Is he/she someone I could see myself with long term? Do we have more than chemistry? Is he/she a good person, etc.) are we taking this to Netflix and Chill level?

Recruiting: The Onsite Interview (Which assesses more than a laundry list of skill sets: cultural fit, work ethic, etc)

There could be more steps/dates in this process it just depends on the prospect being assessed. And important to note, at any point in the assessment period, there can be a rejection.

Reasons for rejections 1. Does not continue to meet expectations. 2. Another prospect has come along who is a better option, 3. The prospect is no longer interested, etc.

Step #5: The Offer

Recruiting: Written and Verbal Offer for job

Dating: The DTR “Define The Relationship”

The offer is the ultimate conversation you are really hoping to get to as you have spent so much time getting to know one another/working with one another. It’s the DTR conversation — let's define this relationship.

Step #6: The Acceptance

Recruiting: Accepting The Position

Dating: Becoming Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Then there is the ACCEPTANCE — which is dependent on the overall experience throughout the entire process and how that DTR/Offer conversation goes. With an acceptance, your prospect is locked in New Employee/New Partner.

Look at us go…

So there you have it — the Dating and Recruiting parallel! What I know for sure, is that I am a far-better recruiter than I was a dater. Very grateful to have found my life partner. Married Oct 2019.